Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Phillip Vander Weg, who served with the Golden Knights and was killed during the battle of Tri Nam in Vietnam.
Hailing from Wayland, Michigan, Phillip Vander Weg was part of the Army Parachute team, nicknamed the Golden Knights. The Army Parachute team represented the United States in the sport of skydiving and competed in numerous international competitions. In 1962, Vander Weg’s team participated in the World Parachuting Championships held in Orange, Massachusetts. He won first place in all events, winning numerous gold medals.
With the escalation of the Vietnam War, Vander Weg joined the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment of the 5th Infantry Division. He went to Vietnam in August 1965. Upon his arrival, he went to the Michelin Rubber Plantation in Bình Dương province in South Vietnam. The Viet Cong (VC) army used it as a base and staging area for operations. The rubber sales were an important source of revenue for the South Vietnam government, so any VC activity at the base could affect output. Vander Weg worked as an advisor to the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), which supported U.S. Army activities and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam’s (ANRV) military activities.
On Nov. 27, 1965, the VC 272nd Regiment ambushed the 7th Regiment, 5th Infantry Division at the plantation during the Battle of Tri Nam. Almost all of the 7th regiment died during the battle. Vander Weg was among those killed due to multiple fragmentation wounds.
Vander Weg ended his service as a sergeant and received many medals including a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Following the battle, the military brought Vander Weg’s body back to the U.S. and interred him in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. His name is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on panel 3E, line 115.
We honor his service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Editor: Katherine Berman, Julia Pack
Fact checker: Crystal Moore
Graphic artist: Grace Yang